Random Stuff List

February 1, 2015


Happy Sunday, y’all. Let’s talk about random stuff!

1. Okay, so after I wrote last week’s post, which was supposed to be about my adventure in winter camping but turned out to be about my misadventures in pee-funnel-ordering, a few of you wrote me to ask me more about my winter camping trip — like where I went and stuff.

Because, apparently, some of you actually want useful information and not just stories about pee funnels.


So, for those of you who were curious, I camped at Ludington State Park. They have a couple mini-cabins on site and about a billion other campsites, including some hike-in sites. They also have a lighthouse, sand dunes, access to both Lake Michigan and an inland lake, rent-able water vessels in the summer, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter, and a whole bunch of hiking paths.

But, if you go, I really suggest you do not follow the park ranger’s suggestion on which hiking path you should take. I was all set to go on the easy, flat, mile-and-a-half trek to the lighthouse, when the park ranger convinced me to go on a different hiking route which had “great views.”

And the next thing I knew I was scrambling over slush-covered sand dunes for eight and a half miles.

And those “great views”?

Basically, trees. Lots and lots of trees.


Some of the “great views”

Because, apparently, a park ranger’s idea of “great views” is trees.

Makes sense, really.

2. Speaking of posts about bodily functions, I just got an email from an advertising company this morning telling me that my blog “has been selected as a great fit for inspiring campaign with Depend!” (Their exclamation mark, not mine.)

I’m pretty sure this means I’ve arrived.

I mean, one day I’m just sitting around in my pajamas, writing blog posts about pee funnels.

And then a week later I’m getting overly enthusiastic emails asking you to help advertise adult diapers.

3. Yesterday, I had to say goodbye to the group of Japanese junior high school teachers I had the pleasure of working with this year. They were on a six-month exchange program, where they took classes at the university where I teach and interned at local public schools.

I taught them this summer, and then spent the rest of the six months forcing them to go out drinking with me because CULTURE.


Welcome to Michigan. Now drink some beer.

Not only was it the best thing ever to be able to teach teachers. They listened to everything I said and always showed up to class with writing utensils — something my regular students don’t exactly do all the time. Or ever.

But I also felt like in some small way by helping them out for the past six months, I was able to repay some of the kindness and generosity that was shown to me by my Japanese friends and colleagues in Japan.

I called it “paying it backward.” It’s kind of like “paying it forward,” but for lazy, selfish, oblivious people like myself — people who don’t realize how kind and amazing other people are being towards them until it’s way too late.

Now, I just need to help out about fifty billion other Japanese people and then we’ll all be even.

Kind of.

4. Yesterday after bidding farewell to my Japanese friends at the airport, I was super sad so I decided to go to the mall and buy myself everything with polka dots on it.

True fact: It impossible to feel super sad when wearing polka dots.

Not only did I buy a new polka dot sweater, but also this polka dot dress. Which I won’t reasonably be able to wear in public for another one to three months or at least until most of the snow goes away. But that doesn’t mean I can’t wear it to multiple bedroom mirror fashion shows, does it?

Making it werk.

Bedroom mirror fashion show. Making it werk.

Also, I’m not the only one who promptly puts on a bedroom mirror fashion show as soon as I get home from clothes shopping, am I? That’s totally normal adult behavior, right?

5. I also bought a new pair of sneakers, to replace my old pair of sneakers, which my cat has eaten to death because, apparently, stinky old sneakers are DELICIOUS according to cats.

After trying on a whole bunch of fancy, shiny, new sneakers with all kinds of air cushions and gel inserts and day-glow colors, I ended up buying the exact same pair of sneakers I bought last time.

Twinsies! (Except the new shoes haven't been molested by my cat yet.)

New shoes, old cat-eaten shoes.

Is this a sign that I’m getting old — that I just buy the same pair of sneakers over and over again because, gosh darn, they’re just so comfy?

Oh, also, I should probably mention they are Dr. Scholl’s sneakers. Yeah, like the company that makes those little cushions for your bunions or whatever. They also make sneakers. And I’m a devoted fan.

I know, I know, I’m like eighty years old, you guys.


6. So, one of the reasons why I bought a new pair of sneakers (besides, you know, my cat and her sneaker-eating ways) is because I’ve decided to run a 5K race this spring.

I’ve walked a couple 5K races since moving back to the States, but the last race I actually ran for real was the Great Wall 10K almost three years ago. (And, honestly, I only ran the non-Wall portion of that race as the Wall-portions were completely ridiculous and almost impossible to walk, let alone run.)

As ridiculous as it looks.

As ridiculous as it looks.

I kind of gave up running all together about two years ago, and have since stuck to walking or other modes of movement that don’t require my wearing too much spandex.

But this week I downloaded the Couch to 5K app on my phone and I tried it out and, you guys, I’m a total convert.

I had friends recommend the Couch to 5K training program to me before, but after checking out the website explaining it, I promptly gave up. The program involves alternating between walking and running at different timed intervals, which means having to pay attention to the time and do math and a whole bunch of other stuff I’m incapable of doing while running. Or ever.

But the app does all the math for you, and just tells you in this little robotic lady voice when you need to start running. Apparently, that’s all I needed to start running again — a little robotic lady voice instructing me to do so.

7. A few other things I need to buy:

This kitten headband.

This laser eyes space cat t-shirt.

And this unicorn hat.

8. As you know, I joined Amazon Prime a month back.

In addition to helping me binge-watch episodes of Downton AbbeyI thought it would also help me save money on book purchases, as you can borrow some books for free with your membership.

This week I started looking into what books I could get for free, and, well, let’s just say that the selection is interesting.

And that’s how I ended up reading a romance novel about a tech-mogul-billionaire-slash-bear-shape-shifter. It is called Bearllionaire. BECAUSE OF COURSE IT IS.


Is anyone else confused as to why the bear is so small and the headless man’s abs are so big?

9.  I thought you could use this video of a cat answering questions that lead to love.

10. American friends, are you watching the Super Bowl today?

Honest to God, I had to Google search this morning who was even playing in the game. (Also, what’s the deal with the New England Patriots? Do they play for a specific city or are they just supposed to represent all of New England? I should probably know this as a New Yorker, but, whatevs.)

Needless to say, I will not.

But I am planning to eat Super Bowl food (namely chili and corn chips) and drink beer while catching up on Season 5 of Downton Abbey. After all, isn’t Downton Abbey basically like football, but with fancier hats and British accents?

Maybe to get into the spirit of things I’ll boo really loudly anytime Lady Mary bad-mouths Lady Edith. (Although I think we can all agree Lady Edith kind of deserves it.)

How has your week been? Tell me all about it in the comments!


I've blathered on long enough! Now it's your turn!

  1. On February 1, 2015 at 3:05 pm Elizabeth said:

    I, too, have been less than impressed with the free ebook selection with Amazon Prime. I did, however, learn that my public library offers ebooks and audiobooks through Overdrive. You can’t always get the book you want exactly when you want it, but my approach is to have holds on like 10 books at the same time and the WHAM I HAVE 5 BOOKS I NEED TO READ WITHIN 21 DAYS. Which I can do, because I love books.
    The only downside is that if you’re running out of time and you haven’t finished, you can’t just hold onto the book or pay a fine. They flat out take the book out of your kindle (and you can get back on the waiting list, and when you get the book again all your bookmarks are there and stuff, but still, takes a long time). This results in some desperate binge reading behavior on my part at times, just so I can finish before the book disappears.
    Anyway, it’s worth checking to see if your public library offers something similar.
    Elizabeth recently posted..Food for the Eatin’ in Pgh Part 4: @VooDooBrewery @TheCommonplace @PennBrewery @HarrisGrill Speakeasy

    • On February 1, 2015 at 3:18 pm Sally said:

      Thank you! Actually, my friend just sent me the link to Overdrive this week (after I mentioned my bear-shifter romance reading). I’ll have to check it out. But, yeah, all that pressure over having to read it in 21 days? That sounds intense!

  2. On February 1, 2015 at 4:54 pm Alisa said:

    I should probably binge watch Downton Abbey today, seeing as how it is snowing an obscene amount here and I am essentially trapped in my house. Plus, everyone has been talking about how amazing the show is for ages.
    Also, binge watching shows is the best. Friends on Netflix has killed all my productivity.
    Alisa recently posted..Photo Sunday: So. Many. Snow. Days

    • On February 2, 2015 at 11:01 am Sally said:

      Ooo, you should! It’s super fun. Although word of warning: after a few episodes in a row you will believe that you are a hoity toity lady of early 20th century England. Or at least I did. And I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why no one would bring me tea. 🙂

  3. On February 1, 2015 at 7:26 pm Priya said:

    Yeah, I don’t need info about where you went camping. I just care about pee funnels. 🙂
    Priya recently posted..Confession: I Suck As A Budget Traveler

  4. On February 2, 2015 at 8:24 am Hata Trbonja said:

    I thought I was the only one to have fashion shows for one!
    I hold mine in the morning right after I wake up. That’s when I am my skinniest. And no one is allowed but me. Super exclusive.
    if you have run out of Downton to watch, go over to Call the Midwife. Talk about great British shows. I prefer that over Downton. Gasp!
    Have a good week.
    Hata Trbonja recently posted..Cheating on France with Switzerland.

  5. On February 2, 2015 at 1:33 pm Jumbo Jibbles said:

    Thank you so much for the feature! I’m the unicorn hat lady. As a thank you, here’s a coupon for 20% off unicorn apparel for this whole week! Use the code UNBRAVE and go nuts.
    Jumbo Jibbles recently posted..Black Unicorn Ski Mask – Creepy Unicorn Halloween Costume by jumbojibbles

  6. On February 2, 2015 at 3:43 pm becky hutner said:

    i am always attracted to the clothes with polka dots on them & don’t feel guilty about buying because polka dots will never go out of style EVER. isn’t that right audrey hepburn?

    becky hutner recently posted..How to become a travel writer. No, really.

    • On February 2, 2015 at 4:18 pm Sally said:

      This is true. You never know with those other prints. Florals are so iffy. And stripes are cool but not exactly quintessential. But polka dots — they’re timeless!

  7. On February 2, 2015 at 4:10 pm Maddie said:

    Bearllionaire??!! I have to read this, cannot stop laughing 🙂 I mistakenly signed up for Kindle Unlimited the other day and can now get all of this brilliance for $10 a month, oh dear.
    Maddie recently posted..Hiking the Grand Canyon rim to rim

    • On February 2, 2015 at 4:17 pm Sally said:

      It’s actually part of a TRILOGY! AND, YOU’RE WELCOME!
      Also, I’d like to hear about your experience with Unlimited. I was thinking maybe I should sign up for Unlimited as it seems the free book selections are slightly better with unlimited… but maybe it’s just more bear shifter romance novels?

  8. On February 3, 2015 at 1:51 am Ron@MichiganHomes said:

    “It impossible to feel super sad when wearing polka dots.”

    Make sense, really! Haven’t seen any human being wearing polka dots who is sad or crying. 🙂
    Ron@MichiganHomes recently posted..Renting vs Buying A Home – Pros And Cons

  9. On February 3, 2015 at 6:55 pm Jen said:

    No good books for Amazon Prime? Where are you looking? There are tons and they change literally every day. When I’m not using one of the aggregators, I use the Bestseller listings – there are two tabs – one for regular and one for free. The cover art is usually atrocious but there are real gems in there – especially if it’s a series because the first one is usually free.

    • On February 8, 2015 at 10:41 am Sally said:

      Thanks for the suggestion. I didn’t realize there was a Bestseller list just for free books. I checked it out and there does seem to be a lot more available than I thought — and thankfully not all the books are about bear-shifter billionaires. 🙂

  10. On February 4, 2015 at 6:24 am Daina said:

    I went to a Super Bowl party, saw about 4 minutes of the game, most of the half-time show, and – amazingly – almost no ads. I was there for the company and the food!
    Also – eight miles over wet dunes? Definitely does not sound like fun to me…
    Daina recently posted..More Highlights from Charleston

    • On February 8, 2015 at 10:40 am Sally said:

      I will say that slightly-frozen dunes are much easier to climb than hot-as-Hades dunes (aka my hike at Sleeping Bear Dunes this summer). But, still, 8 miles was a bit much.

  11. On February 4, 2015 at 12:58 pm Jennifer said:

    Several of my friends go to Ludington each year, and I’ve never been but I’m so intrigued! Although, based on your recount, I may have to wait until the weather is a bit warmer and ignore any park rangers that get in my way.

    Also, Downton is one of my favorites and I 100% support your decision to supplement the Super Bowl with hours of being angry at Edith. I admit that I attended a Super Bowl party on Sunday, but there was guacamole so the situation was obviously worth enduring.
    Jennifer recently posted..House Update: IKEA Hacks And My Inability To Let Go Of Christmas

    • On February 8, 2015 at 10:39 am Sally said:

      I’ve heard the park is positively packed in the summertime because it’s one of the best state parks in Michigan. So, honestly, it was nice to go in the winter, when I didn’t have to battle crowds. Although I would like to go back sometime when the bathrooms are open. I think that would have made my trip a bit better.

  12. On February 5, 2015 at 5:50 pm Anita said:

    Just thought I’d leave a note letting you know that I really enjoy your random lists posts. Keep up the good work and keep them coming 🙂
    Anita recently posted..FOOD TRUCKS: MELBOURNE vs CANBERRA

  13. On February 28, 2015 at 11:09 pm Dominique King said:

    Well, it looks like you may have figured out which trail at Ludington SP you should have taken…but here’s what you missed http://www.midwestguest.com/2009/02/hike-to-big-sable-point-light.html …and that’s the reason why I recognized the cabin you stayed in at the park 🙂
    Dominique King recently posted..Photo Friday: Pieces of Color, camera club winner

    • On March 1, 2015 at 1:47 pm Sally said:

      Actually, I did take the hike to Big Sable the following day (after my mega-hike). That hike was MUCH NICER and flatter and didn’t make me want to cause bodily harm to the park ranger.

  14. On March 4, 2015 at 1:55 am Ceri said:

    I’ve been buying the same pair of shoes since I was 10. I’m a Converse girl, all the way. They only last for about a year and a half and I just replace them with new ones every time. So imaginative.
    Ceri recently posted..My Five Favourite Things in February


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